There are some assertions about reality that are so wildly out of touch with scientific evidence and rational thinking that is extraordinarily difficult to grasp why some people consider them even remotely sound. Presumably, the maelstrom of blind ignorance, breathtaking stupidity and ingrained ideology engulf them and force a complete disconnect from any sensible view of the world. Despite considerable efforts, these individuals are typically highly resistant to correction.
One such assertion that keeps getting resurrected and regurgitated no matter how hard it has been bombarded to shreds is the flawed notion that being accepting towards transgender individuals or providing hormone-replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery is akin to supporting the psychotic delusion of someone who believes himself to be Napoleon. Here are just a few recent examples of this problematic trope:
Pretending that a man who thinks he’s a woman really is one is like giving a man who thinks he’s Napoleon an army with which to invade Russia.
To make the claim that everyone in society has to take part in their hallucination is akin to opening the doors of the mental hospitals and having to recognize that everyone that thinks they are Napoleon are actually Napoleon. They are mentally dysfunctional – treat THAT.
GID patients have a mental illness and society should be looking into ways to eradicate that mental illness through some form of treatment that isn’t the equivalent of giving a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks he’s Napoleon a bicorn hat and a saber.
Treating a man as a woman would be like catering to the delusion of a paranoid schizophrenic. Their hallucinations aren’t real, and pretending they are doesn’t actually help the person.
…and so on ad nauseam.
However, even a cursory understanding of the relevant scientific background makes it painfully obvious that being transgender is nothing like having a psychotic Napoleon delusion.
—-> Being transgender by itself does not constitute a psychiatric condition. Having the psychotic delusion that you are Napoleon usually indicate a psychiatric condition. The American Psychological Association (2011) explains that a “psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder.”
—-> Most transgender individuals do not believe that their genotypic sex is different from what it actually is. Thus, being transgender is usually not associated with the psychotic symptom such as paranoid delusions or delusions of grandeur. Having a firm belief that you are Napoleon is obviously a psychotic delusion of grandeur.
—-> According to NHS (2012), a psychosis is often associated with thought disturbances, manifesting as strange shifts in speech content, sudden pauses or arbitrary speech content. There is no evidence that these symptoms are associated with being transgender.
—-> Transgender individuals generally do not experience hallucinations of smell, touch or sound and so on but these kinds of hallucinations are common in individuals with psychosis (NHS, 2012).
—-> Psychiatric conditions that involve psychotic delusions tend to respond to anti-psychotics, whereas anti-psychotics are not listed as a credible, evidence-based treatment for transgender individuals diagnosed with gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria (World Professional Association for Transgender Health, 2011).
There are plenty of other substantive differences between being transgender and having a psychotic Napoleon delusion including contributing factors, development, outcomes and so on.
Comparing transgender individuals with people having a psychotic Napoleon delusion is an irrational trope contradicted by a considerable amount of evidence.
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NHS Choices. (2012). Symptoms of psychosis. Accessed: 2013-12-06.
American Psychological Association. (2011). Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression. Accessed: 2013-12-06.
World Professional Association for Transgender Health. (2011). Standards of Care (Version 7). Accessed: 2013-12-06.